24 March 2010
Scientists in the SBCS have found that a species of horned dung beetle is the world’s strongest insect. After months of gruelling tests, the Onthophagus tauru was found to be able to pull 1,141 times its own body weight, which is the equivalent of a human lifting six full double-decker buses. The findings also lend some insight into evolutionary patterns and mating rituals of the insects. Dr Knell, who led the study, said: “Female beetles of this species dig tunnels under a dung pat, where males mate with them. If a male enters a tunnel that is already occupied by a rival, they fight by locking horns and try to push each other out.” This story has featured widely in the media: MSNBC, Telegraph, The Independent, Mail Online, and Channel 4 News.